Green Energy

A good general summary article: Renewable Energy. You can present many of these ideas at the ‘90% Design for others’ talk in Martin. Definitely visit Other90.

Idea Explanation Do this if you Like… Possibly useful resources
Wave Energy
Build a wave-making tank and a miniature generator prototype that is run on the energy of ocean waves. Study the wave energy vs. depth and other. Then build your real one for the ocean!
The beach, building stuff, a definite goal. Video’s from SRI using EPA’s to capture wave energy: Simulation and Real experiment
Solar Powered Chariot Build a chariot or other type of simple transportation that is powered with solar energy. Some electronics, a good amount of mechanical design and building and being creative. See this video as an example of one
High Altitude Wind Turbine Build a Wind Energy system that puts a turbine up high where the wind is much stronger. Weather balloons and Kites are two cheap ways to get it up there. Some electronics, a good amount of mechanical design and building. Optimizing for low mass. The outdoors. See this site as an example of one
Energy Transport from Space Build a laser energy transport system. Prototype of a futuristic energy idea. That idea is to put solar cells into space (where no atmosphere to block sun) and then beam it down to Earth. Some electronics, thinking out of the box, real world futuristic ideas. National Space Society
Space Power
Energy Independent House You will build the house of the future! This house will be fully independent of the ‘grid’. All energy in the house is supplied by the house. Put in lights, mini-appliances and track the energy usage. Solar cells, wind generators… your idea. You will also need to store the energy in maxwell capacitors and/or rechargeable batteries. You should like building things and some electronics. Instructions for a
30 W Solar Panel
Solar Powered Irrigation System The biggest challenge to feeding the poorest people in the world is water. In many parts of India, Africa, and Middle East water is scarce and seasonal, creating food shortages. Have your solar panel track with the sun using light sensors and arduino. Doing good in the world. Designing and building something that is truly needed and useful. You’ll learn about solar cells, irrigation systems, pumps, and crops. A Design by Stanford GradGravity Flow IrrigationSolar Tracking
Smart Wind Generator
It’s one thing to generate electricity, it’s another thing to optimize its efficiency and usability for everyday devices. For example, you can use a microcontroller to sense the windspeed and vary the load across it in order to optimize its power production.  Take a look at innovative new wind designs.
Designing something, building something, doing a little electronics and measuring wind speed and power generation. Using a microcontroller like the arduino to control it. Smart energy. All very practical skills.
Archimedes silent wind turbine
Capturing Waste Energy Everytime you step down, energy is wasted. Everytime you workout energy is wasted, braking your bike or car …
Why not capture all the energy that is wasted in everyday life?
Thinking creatively. Building something. Taking measurements. A little electronics. Being different. An article on shock absorbers capturing waste energy
Converting to LED Lights Convert street lamps, car headlights, your house lights to LED lights. They are much more efficient! It’s the future, be at the forefront! Think creatively. Measure the light spectrum (we have the tools!) to make sure your light gives off a pleasing spectrum for humans. Kevin Taylor’s Flashlight
Solar Night Lights
Design and build a light that stores energy via solar cells during the day and then uses that energy to keep a light going all night. Could be a walkway, Christmas lights, a sports field!?
Constructing a practical device. A little electronics. 3D printer could be useful here. A real life project.
Hybrid Cars They’re all the rage. Make your own prototype hybrid car using Maxwell capacitors, solar cells, whatever else you can think of to make the car as efficient as possible. Cars. Electronics. Earth the way it is now. Instructions for a
30 W Solar Panel!
Hydrogen Using hydrogen to power a miniature car or a household device. A combination of science and engineering. We have fuel cells in the lab, so it’s more a matter of getting them to work in a system and maximizing efficiency. You can first experiment with the fuel cells in the lab, learning how to optimize them, etc. and then set about building your project. Hydrogen EconomyHydrogen Power PlantsHydrogen CarsFuel Cell Cars

Hype About Hydrogen (problems with H2 power)

Bicycle Power Use your bicycle to power a stereo (the boom box bike), a water pump (big need for ‘3rd World’ countries) your lights… Building something you’ll work with your old bicycle, a generator and whatever you want to power. You’ll have a cool finished product that you can show off
Electric Powered Vehicles Add electric power to your bicycle OR convert your gas powered go cart, scooter, motorcycle or even a car to electric power Building something very cool and have a mixture of interests (both mechanical and some electric). EbikesMatt Corley’s paper on his Green bikePrasanth Vereena’s paper – bike with regenerative braking
Build a hydrogenerator either for a river, the pipes in your house (capture that energy of the water draining out), for your gutter system…
Designing something, building something, measuring water flow and power generated and a little electronics. A mix of tasks and all very practical.
Build Your Own Hydorelectric Plant
ASR Project Video
Read Eric Heimark’s Paper
Build a windmill to generate power. It can be one for your house, a portable one for your cell phone…
Designing something, building something, doing a little electronics and measuring wind speed and power generation. All very practical skills.
Wind Turbines PowerSam Wolf’s Windmill Compare to the big ones
Solar Cells Make your own Solar Cell. Measure the voltage and current output and try different things to maximize its efficiency. A little chemistry to go along with your physics and engineering. Mostly a science project. You will make your own solar cell and test it’s efficiency and then wire it up to power something at home. Make Your Own Solar Cell
Full instructions by UCLA

Website on Organic Cells
Direct Solar

Use the energy of the sun directly to power devices, by creating steam and either using that steam to turn a turbine or using the steam to power a Stirling engine. Or use the heat difference to create electricity using a Peltier cell.

The sun, using your science knowledge to make something useful, building stuff.

Stirling Engine

90% Design for Others

Renewable Energy (pg. 5)

Using Solar Cells Using flexible solar cells you can stitch them onto your backpack or even start a new fashion trend by making a solar T-shirt or jacket that powers your iPod or cell phone as you walk around. A project that combines different aspects of energy efficiency and practicality. You will use the flexible solar cells and start by testing them for efficiency and then building a prototype and finally your shirt or backpack which you can show off at college. Flexible Solar Cells
CO2 Sequestering Build a miniature coal plant with CO2 sequestering. If you like to be the first to do something and have some tenacity. I don’t believe anyone has done this before, which makes it very exciting, but there will also be some bumps in the road. I have no doubt that it can be done. CO2 Sequestering Article